Italian Industrialists

The Italian Elite & Clothing – The Opposite of Pitti Uomo

With all the colorful summer outfits and accessories from Pitti Uomo and MRket, one might think that this is the only way to dress nowadays. However, business people in leading positions – no matter whether they live in New York, London, Milan or elsewhere, often dress in much more conservative colors and outfits. Personally, I think color is a great way to enhance an ensemble, but often it is overdone. A look at very classic and basic outfits really emphasizes that a clean, proper business suit without any flashy colors is sometimes more elegant than an outfit with loaded with accents.

As such, I would like to present a few gentlemen that are the Anti-Pitti Uomo Man or Anti-Luca Rubinacci in terms of style and color, which I believe makes them all the more interesting. Today, I would like to start with a few Italians, with others soon to come.

Italian Elite

For many decades now, Italians have probably been the preeminent men’s fashion leaders in casual and formal business clothes with an informal twist, while they never really excelled in regards to proper evening wear. As such, I want to focus on the looks Italians do best: suits and sportscoats with a casual touch.

Luca di Montezemolo

Luca di Montezemolo (more about him here) is the chairman of Ferrari and a well known style icon in the Western hemisphere. He wears mostly business suits, often in a 6×1 double breasted Fasson with a 9 cm wide silk tie and white or light blue shirts. Of course, his suits are made by a bespoke tailor with a Northern Italian Silhouette: limited drama and no spalla camicia. Even with his suits, he usually wears button cuffs and if he skips the tie, he sometimes unbuttons his cuff buttons. He usually wears his hair a bit longer, but other than that he is anything but flashy. At times, you will also seem him in more casual outfits, wearing a blazer with pewter buttons, khakis and espadrilles. In my opinion, his combinations are the personification of the Italian Industrialist outfit: while the colors are mostly subdued, he always adds an element of casual elegance, creating an overall pleasing look that is classic,

yet not stodgy.

Matteo Cordero di Montezemolo in Chalk Stripe Suit with Knit Tie

Matteo Cordero di Montezemolo in Chalk Stripe Suit with Knit Tie

Matteo Cordero di Montezemolo

Matteo Cordero di Montezemolo is the son of Luca. Although he is probably most well known in association with the the luxury furniture brand Poltrona Frau, his style is very similar to his father’s.

He wears a lot of dark business suits with soft shoulders, simple ties and a plain white pocket square.

Every once in a while, he will throw in a knit tie, which is traditionally not worn with a business suit, but this is exactly the relaxed casualness Italians do so well. They combine informal accessories with otherwise conservative outfits – often in gray, blue or even monochromatic color palettes – and create an elegant outfit with sprezzatura that avoids screaming for attention.

The Elkanns

While Lapo and John Elkann are rather well known by many style aficionados, and many claim they wear A. Caraceni suits from their stylish grandfather Gianni Agnelli, most people do not know much about their father Alain Elkann. He and John dress rather conservatively in striped business suits or plain gray and blue outfits. In order to add a little splash of color, John often wears colorful wristbands. Alain is from an older generation and he limits himself to dark knit ties with limited color in his outfits. Unlike Lino(and many younger Italians), he wears his double breasted coats buttoned all the way.

Lapo, on the other hand, often wears rather flamboyant ensembles and diverges entirely from the dressing habits of Italian industrialists.

Take a look at the picture of Lapo & John Elkann in gray striped double breasted suits. The lapel is cut in such a way that the stripe disappears on the edge of the lapel. Although I am well aware that certain tailors in Italy do it this way, I do not like that look at all and prefer a striped line that runs along the edge of the lapel. What do you prefer?

Stephan Winkelmann

Although born in Germany, Stephan Winkelmann – the current CEO of Lamborghini – has lived in Italy for 30 years. Therefore, it is expected that he dresses very similarly to his Italian peers.

Just like them, he wears dark – often striped – business suits and he prefers a keyhole buttonhole in his lapel. His shirts are mostly white with nice, large collars and his ties are plain, simple and dark. On his wrist, he wears a large watch and a few various wrist bands, but he rarely shows cuff.

Also, he prefers the button cuffs over double cuffs, and in the heat, he leaves them undone. His pocket square is usually white, folded in a simple TV fold. In combination with his slightly longer hair, these little details give him a certain kind of sprezzatura without ever putting him even close to the rakish dressers at Pitti Uomo.

Conclusion

The economic Italian elite seems to dress rather conservatively, yet always with a casual touch that their American, Asian or fellow European peers rarely possess. It can reach from as little as an undone button to a pair of espadrilles, but the Italians often understand how to lighten up their business outfits without looking unprofessional or out of place. It seems that the Italians’ general understanding of style is a infused element of their culture with room for individual interpretation.

What do you think about their style? Do you have an Italian Style Icon? What are your favorite casual quirks? If you like these pictures, you may also be interested in this tumblr.

11 replies
  1. ALLEN theCOLE KID COLEMAN
    ALLEN theCOLE KID COLEMAN says:

    I love this piece , and even though agree with the fact that the traditional man should be appreciated i don’t think it should be in the line of putting on a block on other gentleman who push the envelope with no intention of offence . Men’s style is filled with rules and tradition , and this is why the grey area of fusing individual style and not breaking rules makes it so difficult for men to express themselves with clothing . I believe we all should not look like men in uniforms but at the same time nobody likes anything overdone , not even the tastiest meat .

    • Sven Raphael Schneider
      Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      That is true. I always try to advocate for a little more color to elevate monochrome outfits to the next level. Also, I think it is important to acknowledge that there are so many styles other than one’s own style that are not inferior at all. In fact, pluralism is desirable and a style is always better than sloppiness, no matter whether one would never wear an outfit of a particular style.

  2. Arsch Sharma
    Arsch Sharma says:

    A very well presented article indeed. It is my personal opinion that a man must dress in a conservative manner. Adding a dash of colour to your ensemble in a limited manner is acceptable, but you should definitely end up looking like a peacock!

    • Arsch Sharma
      Arsch Sharma says:

      *I beg your pardon, I meant, “…but you should definitely not end up looking like a peacock!”

  3. Aaron
    Aaron says:

    I think Matteo Marzotto is another well-dressed industrialist with great combination in colours and fabrics. And of course always 6×2 DB

    Aaron

  4. Jerry Finefrock
    Jerry Finefrock says:

    Re: The picture of Mr. Montezemolo in a blue blazer, he should fire his tailor; the blazer is cut too long and makes his legs look stumpy and him look short. over the years I have noticed a tendancy for Italian fashons to have that fault just like British tend to being cut too short.

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